Togo’s top ivory dealer only gets two years in jail
A shop owner dubbed “Le Patron” [The Boss] because of his status as Togo’s top ivory smuggler was jailed for two years on Wednesday for possessing more than 700kg of elephant tusks.
A judge in the Togolese capital Lome handed Emile N’Bouke, aged 58, the maximum sentence possible after he was found guilty of ivory trafficking, which has been ban…ned worldwide since 1989.
N’Bouke, who was arrested in August last year, was told he would serve only 15 months but was also fined $10 300.
Two co-defendants, Guinean nationals Djifa Doumbouya and Moussa Cherif, who were arrested at the same time and found with between 3 and 6kg of ivory, were also jailed for two years and fined the same amount.
Cherif was found guilty in his absence and is currently the subject of an international arrest warrant.
State prosecutor Blaise Kanmanpene said the judge had taken into account the need to protect elephants but called on Togo to look again at its laws on ivory trafficking to provide for tougher sentences.
Image: Recently seized ivory in Lome’s autonomous port (c) Emile Kouton/AFP